The Hajj (Arabic: حج Ḥaǧǧ "pilgrimage", also spelled haj) is the largest annually occurring pilgrimage in the world, and one of the five pillars of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so at least once in his or her lifetime. The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God (Allah in the Arabic language).
Pilgrims at the al-Haram Mosque at the start of the 2008 Hajj
The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th and last month of the Islamic calendar. Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, eleven days shorter than the Gregorian calendar used in the Western world, the Gregorian date of the Hajj changes from year to year. Ihram is the name given to the special spiritual state in which Muslims live while on the pilgrimage.
The Hajj is associated with the life of Islamic prophet Muhammad from...